Biography of Dr. Sabine R. Ulibarri

Dr. Sabine R. Ulibarri was born September 21, 1919 in Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico. His long career as educator, writer, poet, essayist, critic, and statesman began in the Rio Arriba County Schools in 1938, where he taught for two years before going on to teach at the El Rito Normal School from 1940 to 1942. After receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross for having flown thirty-five combat missions over Europe during World War II, Ulibarri returned to study under the G.I. Bill at the University of New Mexico, graduating with majors in English and Spanish in 1947. The following year he received an assistantship to teach Spanish and earned an M.A. degree. His thesis was on the works of Spanish novelist Benito Perez Galdus. In 1949, he began teaching full time at the University of New Mexico, and later took a leave of absence for three years in order to pursue a Ph.D. in Spanish at the University of California–Los Angeles. UlibarrÌ returned to full-time teaching at the University of New Mexico after receiving his doctorate in 1958. His dissertation, on the works of Spanish poet Juan Ramun Jimenez was published in 1962, in Madrid Spain.

Ulibarri’s first book, Al Cielo Se Sube a Pie (One Gets to Heaven on Foot), was published in 1961 in Mexico. A second book of poetry, Amor y Ecuador (Love and Ecuador) was published in Spain in 1966. Ulibarri lived in Ecuador in the 1960s. He was given the Distinguished Citizen Award and Honorary Citizen Award from the city of Quito in 1963 and 1964.

Sabine Ulibarri founded the University of New Mexico Andean Center in Quito, Ecuador in 1968 and coordinated the program for one year. UlibarrÌ became the President of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese in 1969, and served as executive council member from 1970 to 1975. He served as chair of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages at the University of New Mexico for ten years beginning in 1973. Ulibarri retired from the University of New Mexico in 1988, and received the University of New Mexico Regents Meritorious Service Medal in 1989. He has continued to teach courses on Spanish literature during the 1990s.

Since 1985, Sabine Ulibarri has received prestigious awards for his writings, service, and contribution to the promotion of better cultural understanding in multiethnic societies: Honoree, Albuquerque Feria Artesana (1985); Mexican Government Award for Promotion of Hispanic Culture (1986); New Mexico Governor’s Award MSS 561 BC Ulibarri Page for Excellence and Achievement in Literature (1987); University of New Mexico Symposium Dedicated to the Works of Sabine R. Ulibarri (1988); and Honoree, The American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (1990).

Courtesy of The Online Archive of New Mexico.